The pre-construction meeting for the long-anticipated Glenns Bay Road project is slated for next week, state transportation officials said.
The $80 million project has been in the works since 2009, and is part of Horry County’s RIDE II program. RIDE II was a one-cent sales tax effort that raised $446 million in seven years to address 15 road projects throughout Horry County. The Glenns Bay Road project was the ninth priority on the list of 15.
Mike Barbee, project manager with the S.C. Department of Transportation, said issues with bonds for the project and utility relocation delayed its start.
“We have a pre-construction meeting coming up in early November, and shortly after that, probably about mid-November, there will be a notice to proceed,” Barbee said. “First thing people will see is the advanced warning signage, and then after that they’ll start seeing the equipment in place.”
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Conway-based Southern Asphalt was awarded the project, which has a construction price tag of $46.3 million. A woman who answered the phone at Southern Asphalt Friday said no one from the company was available to talk about the project because a start date has not been set.
Since 2009, officials have announced each year that the project was going to get started, and then was delayed. Construction includes an interchange at U.S. 17 Bypass and Glenns Bay Road, and the widening of Glenns Bay from U.S. 17 Bypass to U.S. 17 Business. Roadside clearing and utility relocation will begin by the end of the year and construction is anticipated to be completed by fall 2017.
It was originally slated to be completed by last spring, but issues with challenges to other projects pushed projects like Glenns Bay off schedule, said Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County.
“Any project that was after [the widening of S.C.] 707 and [the southern extension of S.C.] 31 got pushed off for two years because of the environmental permits,” Bourcier said.
County and state officials attribute delays to various projects in the RIDE II program to the permit challenges filed by the Coastal Conservation League. The challenges, filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, addressed the league’s concerns of the extension of S.C. 31 being built on wetlands. League officials have refuted those accusations and said the delays were caused prior to their challenges.
Barbee said the projected completion date could “possibly” change, but SCDOT’s more immediate concern is getting the project moving.
“We want them to come in, be motivated and stay motivated,” Barbee said. “And we don’t want it to rain for the next three and a half years so they can get in and get out.”